Planning the Perfect Getaway 

Newly engaged couples should sit down and have an honest discussion about what it is that they each want from the honeymoon. Is it the thrill of adventure, the calm of a quiet getaway, or the beauty of a tropical beach? Do wanderlust and new experiences beckon or do backyard comforts and the familiarity of tried-and-true places?

Compromise may need to come into play here as couples consider everything from transportation (train, plane, boat, bike, or automobile?), activities (she likes to hike, he likes the nightlife), and timeframes (he wants the honeymoon to start the day of the wedding, she can't get time off from work right away). Ultimately the honeymoon should be a bonding experience that both enjoy.

Other factors to consider when planning a honeymoon are expenses (establish a budget that won't break the bank with post-honeymoon bills), the weather (hitting the ski slopes in June might not be a good idea at some resorts) and national and seasonal events (areas experiencing political unrest or celebrating major holidays may want to be avoided). Some destinations' societal, religious and dietary practices may need to be taken into consideration too.

Once a decision has been made about where to honeymoon, the couple needs to decide who will actually plan it. Traditionally, the groom handles these arrangements so the bride can focus on those of the wedding. Nowadays it is also common for many brides to take a more active role in the planning process or for one partner to let the other make all the arrangements in order to enjoy the ultimate surprise trip.

Shopping around is highly recommended when making honeymoon arrangements. Do some research (try book stores, surf the Internet), ask the experts (travel agents, seasoned travelers, recent newlyweds, etc.) and plan ahead to get the best bang for your buck. Once plans are confirmed, it's a good idea to do some homework on the area such as identifying sites of interest, available activities and events in order to make the most of this special time.

Honey Money

When traveling, less is better when it comes to what you put in your wallet. Why you certainly want to have a way to cover your expenses while you're on the road, there's no need to take with you what you can't afford to lose. To prevent this, leave behind any items that you won't use (Social Security card, checkbook, credit cards, etc.).

To make sure you're wallet's adequately packed for your honeymoon, take your:

Calling card

Credit card(s) (enough to cover purchases/unexpected expenses)

Debit/ATM card

Discount cards (hotel, frequent flyer, etc.)

Health Insurance cards

Local currency

Photo IDs (driver's license, passport, etc.)

Traveler's checks

Don't Leave Home Without These!

A List of Must-Have Items for Honeymooners

Just your toothbrush or the kitchen sink? Sensible walking shoes or sexy stilettos? Of course, no one can make these decisions better than you, but we do suggest you consider including the following must-have items when packing for your honeymoon:

Advance reservation/ticket confirmation. (Hotel, rental car, plane, Broadway performance, etc.) Brides, reserve airline tickets in your maiden name so that they match your passport.

Driver's license/visa/passport.

Make two sets of copies of all (one to leave at home with family or friends and the other to keep in your hotel's safe) in case they are lost or stolen.

Traveler's checks/credit/debit cards. Take only what you need!

List of important phone numbers. (Doctor, credit card companies, insurance companies, bank, house/pet sitter, etc.)

Prescriptions (in their original bottles). Be sure you bring enough or have a plan in place to get refills.

Mini-first aid kit. (Band-Aids, anti-bacterial/itch creams, aspirin, antacid, antihistamines, motion/diarrhea medicine, tampons/pads, Visine, etc.)

Contraception. Maybe. Maybe not!

Combination travel locks (no key to lose)/Luggage ID tags.

Camera/film/videotape/batteries. (Bring extras.)

Outdoor survival kit. (Sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm, hat, aloe vera, bug spray, etc.)

Electrical adaptor/converter. (If applicable.)

Extra pair of glasses/contacts.

Waist/back packs. For stashing cash and day trips, respectively.

Stain-removal towelettes/sewing kit. For fashion emergencies when you're on the go!

Just to be on the safe side, it's also a good idea for you and your spouse to leave your family or friends:

A copy of your itinerary and phone numbers where you can be reached;

Photocopies of all your important travel documents (passport, credit cards, traveler check info, etc.); and

Sealed copies of your wills and homeowners/life-insurance policy numbers.



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